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Talent Scouting in The New World

We've always been interested in overcoming the problems facing Technology companies and departments during periods when they're looking to hire talented people, but we've been especially interested in the "skills gap" which has become very noticeable over the last couple of years. The current market conditions are making Recruitment of staff particularly difficult - with a lack of available talent and fierce competition between companies being particularly common issues, and as such we're often asked for answers to these problems.

Historically, wealth-creating companies were either 'capital-centric' (for example large pharmaceutical companies) or 'labour-centric' (for example mining, which requires many thousands of workers).

In the world of today however, wealth-creating organisations are either knowledge-intensive or talent-intensive.

There has been a huge shift. The primary means for success of wealth-creating companies has moved away from tangible assets, financial reserves and critical mass of workers and towards the knowledge and specialist skills of the people who populate these businesses. Examples of knowledge or talent intensive 'sectors' might include Investment Banking, Media/Entertainment, Software Development and Professional Services: all which rely heavily (or even entirely) on the skills and dedication of the people involved in the business.

For recruitment, the ramifications are clear - no longer are companies interested in just numbers of staff and volume of man-hours, but they're interested in the knowledge and talent of staff. It is becoming increasingly important for companies to find the "right person" as opposed to "enough people" - a challenge which is made harder by the transitory and ultra-competitive nature of these businesses.

This creates an imperative to attract, retain, discover and develop talent. This, in turn, should further highlight the importance of recruitment, staffing and talent management as the primary strategic function on the CEO agenda to enhance competitiveness.

The challenge of finding creative talent in terms of knowledge workers is pretty tough, even from the perspective of selection. The fast-paced world of technology and the failings of the UK's educational system have created a skills gap that this shift in the world of business merely exacerbates.

So what's the solution?

The increased globalisation of these pools of talent mean that HR Professionals and Business Leaders should consider the creation of policies of attraction and talent discovery which are consistent with that of an international marketplace. Talent scouts, staffers and recruiters should propose at least one overseas candidate in every assignment, and business stakeholders should be prudent in selecting the location where a new business unit should be 'created' to be most cost effective and talent-centric.

To remain in, and enhance on, a competitive position in terms of attracting talent, more emphasis needs to be placed on the importance of intangibles, beyond salary components, and should encompass remote working, company vision and values, corporate behaviours, reputation and employer branding.

Top Idealpeople customers such as Qualcomm, MTV, BSKYB and Microsoft already recognise that through effective and far-sighted employer branding they can differentiate their position against competitors. Nothing helps businesses more than a perception from media and public acknowledgement of a leading edge, pace setting and employee developing environment.

When considering the evaluation of a business's existing talent pool and especially succession planning, common mistakes are often made in terms of over-emphasising the significance of psychometric testing and academic qualifications or a failure to recognise the importance of diversity in the workforce. Training and motivation play a key role also and casual judgements should not be made against a workforce as being 'un-talented' if the issues lie more with employee motivation.

The paradox (or challenge) facing businesses today, is that they need Hierarchy and Structure, Conformity and Beaurocracy, Processes and Policies in order to achieve efficiency gains, and meet regulatory and compliance obligations, but the fact is that these are often the things which 'turn off' the most talented, creative or entreprenuerial people.

So, how do we build a culture which attracts top talent?

Make Employer Branding a priority but don't make promises in the Recruiting phase which can't be delivered
Don't ignore existing talent and constantly work out ways to maximise the motivation of current staff
Apply global thinking to the search process and foster relationships with headhunters and agents who know your market
Don't apply traditional selection modes to all new economy employee roles (academics, psychometrics in particular)
Encourage risk taking and entrepreneurialism
Be elitist, but don't forget to recognise and reward the contribution of 'B'-Player and 'C'-Player talent as part of the overall team effort
Give authority to those with the expertise, but not automatically to those with the 'rank'

And remember......

Knowledge is now more important than corporate assets and so talent hunting should be the number one priority of any competitive business
Money is important, but not the only driver for talented individuals
There are a large number of highly talented people in organisations who are overlooked
Talented people are ever more aware of their value and prepared to move for more reward, challenge and opportunity.

For more information on how Idealpeople can help your business overcome hiring problems in the current market, get in touch with us on 01908 562785 or at


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